Same old problems plague Dogs in loss to Spartans

Brandon Boykin had a career day against Michigan State — but it wasn't enough. (Associated Press)

Brandon Boykin had a career day against Michigan State — but it wasn't enough. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt’s Bulldogs didn’t have to find any new ways to lose in the Outback Bowl — instead, they simply let lots of familiar problems resurface in suffering another second-half collapse and dropping a three-overtime battle with Michigan State.

Again, the Dogs wasted a superlative first-half defensive effort by giving the opponent a couple of cheap touchdowns thanks to turnovers by an erratic Aaron Murray, whose two interceptions put the Spartans back in the ball game.

Again, Georgia’s almost complete lack of a running game made the Dog’ offense one-dimensional. And was anyone at all surprised when Isaiah Crowell, reduced to a backup role, limped off the field after a handful of runs?

Again, placekicker Blair Walsh, once one of the nation’s premier specialists, proved himself more a liability than a weapon and ended up costing Georgia the game by missing two kicks in OT.

And again, playcaller Mike Bobo seemed incapable of adjusting to the realities of what was happening on the field and stubbornly stuck with what wasn’t working.

With the middle of the Spartan’s defensive line as solid as a brick wall, Bobo continually called for runs up the middle — often with delays that turned into tackles for loss since State was getting into the Georgia backfield so quickly. Early on, Georgia was able to have some running success on the outside, but once MSU adjusted to stop that, the Dogs basically were no threat on the ground.

To top it all off, with the Spartans continually blitzing from the corner, Bobo insisted on calling slow-developing downfield passing plays, an all too familiar scenario made even worse by Murray’s poor decision-making when pressured and Georgia’s tight ends being a nonfactor in the game.

Overall, Georgia relied too much on its big-play capability and never was able to really sustain anything offensively against the talented Spartans defense.

Typical of the day was what happened with a little over 3 and a half minutes left in regulation. Needing a first down or two to kill the clock and ice a victory, the Dogs went ultra-conservative and ultra-predictable — two hallmarks of Bobo’s career as a playcaller — by trying again in vain to run Richard Samuel up the middle.

It surprised no one, and the fact that it didn’t work didn’t surprise anyone, either.

And then the banged-up Georgia defense, which had played well most of the day, looked gassed on the Spartans’ last drive of regulation, getting no pressure on MSU QB Kirk Cousins, who cooly passed his team down the field to send it into overtime.

Just think how ugly things might have gotten had Brandon Boykin not played the game of his life in his farewell performance as a Georgia Bulldog, nailing a Spartan receiver for a safety, scoring on a thrilling 92-yard punt return that saw him reversing direction and weaving his way all over the field, and then moving over to offense to catch a touchdown pass for his third different score of the day.

He’ll be missed big-time.

So two disappointing losses bookended a Georgia season that started out 0-2.

Sure, the 10 wins between those four losses and an SEC East title is a big improvement over last season.

But, looking ahead, even though Georgia returns a lot of talent and will have another favorable schedule next year, if the problems that continually reared their head this season aren’t addressed, it’s going to be tough for Richt’s program to take the next step forward.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

1,469 comments Add your comment

DawgVoiceofReason

January 2nd, 2012
7:12 pm

Tough, tough loss….

alex

January 2nd, 2012
7:14 pm

bobo auditions for high school coaching (single A )

Leroy1970

January 2nd, 2012
7:16 pm

Leroy1970

January 2nd, 2012
7:16 pm

BoZo N. Richt

January 2nd, 2012
7:16 pm

Typical Richt – defense handed him the game on a silver platter in OT, but he was too timid to try to win. Instead, Richt opts to put it all on shoulders of a kicker who has struggled all year to make a long fg. Yeah, Richt’s a real nice guy & gutless too.

Mike

January 2nd, 2012
7:16 pm

He got rid of his best bud Martinez … He should have no problem letting bobo walk.

St. Bernard

January 2nd, 2012
7:17 pm

We shouldn’t be upset for guys to go pro (Charles, Rambo, etc.) Would you stick around? Does anyone really think we can win it all?

DawgVoiceofReason

January 2nd, 2012
7:17 pm

What kept Ken Malcome out of the end of the game? Was he hurt?

Yo Vince

January 2nd, 2012
7:17 pm

The biggest difference between Bama and Jaw Jaw would be Bama beat this team by 50 last year and Dawgs continue to be losers. Bama plays for their 14th National Championship, Dawgs just smell bad…. again

Hairy Dawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:17 pm

If we’re ultra-conservative and Richt doesn’t have a problem with it, then I guess Bobo is doing what Richt wants him to do. I’m tired of it.

ARdawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:17 pm

Very sad 2nd half performance

Scott

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

Ehh, another easy schedule next year. All the dawgs have to worry about is the championship game and South Carolina.

St. Bernard

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

What would LSU have done on that possession of OT? Ran it down their throats.

aedawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

Bobo is the most predictable and unimaginative play caller in college football. If Richt does not make a change, we will be doomed to anther year of high expectations and poor results. Fire him now.

Tech fan

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

Welcome to our world…losing sucks doesn’t it?

epic quibble

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

Deluded, we was.
Same problems, same inability to adjust, same lack of stones, different year.
Oy vey.

chris

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

Blair Walsh once again choked and Murray starting to resemble Matt Ryan’s noodle arm

bilbo799

January 2nd, 2012
7:18 pm

BOBO’s playcalling was abysmal. Where was KEN MALCOME? Where was ORSON? BOBO really needs to go at this point.

Nashville4UGA

January 2nd, 2012
7:19 pm

Typical….need 1 first down up by 7 to win the game and run up the middle and leave 2 minutes for MSU to score to tie it. No killer instinct by the offense. Played not to lose instead of to win like the premier teams do and this is what you get. Makes me sick at my stomach. Please demote Bobo to QB coach only and bring in someone with an imagination to call the offense.

dawgs

January 2nd, 2012
7:19 pm

Richt was just as bad as BOBO. Run, qb take a knee to set up a 42 yard field goal with a inconsistent kicker, that sounds like a great plan to win the game in ot. We will never win a title with Richt and Murray at UGA. Murray is just not ever gonna be great. He always makes sure the other team gets back in the game. Richt always coaches to try not to lose, never to try to win.

gogo

January 2nd, 2012
7:19 pm

Defense looked amazing….in the first half. Not sure where they went during halftime.

Agreed the offense did nothing except a lucky touchdown pass.

Said it all year…. Bobo needs to GoGo. I don’t care if he is an alumni. His play calling stinks.

DepressedDawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

Please Fire Bobo! He is the issue, not Richt…

DShep

January 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

Bobo continues his conservative play calling. Instead of playing to win the game with 3 minutes left, he runs up the middle 3 times in a row. Is this Richt or Bobo making these calls? First down and you most likely win. However, as usual, we give it back to the other team. My sons pee wee coach would call a better game.

D

January 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

“Richt & Murray are 0-9 vs. top 20 ranked teams.”

But AJC and all of Dawg Nation will be talking about the how great UGA is come Fall after they win 9 or 10 games with their cake schedule, only to feel exactly the way they do now after they get slaughtered to whichever superior SEC West team in the SECCG and possibly lose next year’s bowl game.

Lather/Rinse/Repeat…how many years now have we heard that this team is rebuilding? UGA is a good team. Not a great team. If they want to get better they need to play better teams. That means teams like LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida (when they were good), every year. Not 1 great team. not 2, they need to be playing 4, 5, 6 great teams every year. Not “let’s play mediocre teams to get to the SECCG only to expose ourselves as not even a little bit close to that elite level.”

Barticus Maximus

January 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

You nailed it BK. It is all fixable, just need MR to make some tough calls.

bilbo799

January 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

YO VINCE, the biggest difference between UGA and BAMA is that BAMA spends over $30 million on football and has literally nothing else going for it. Your school is a professional football team that happens to have a university loosely affiliated with it. CONGRATS ON WINNING SO MANY GAMES! Yes, I’d like fries with that.

Jerry70

January 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

Mark, we have to have on offense coordinator that will take full advantage of his athletes.

antonio romero

January 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

done done done Too easy to make the same comments or complaints! done done done

DrDawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

Is Crowell really that fragile? Didn’t he ever get hit in high school? Bobo has got to be dismissed. When a bomb works, he looks like he knows what he is doing. But the rest of the time, just about any high school coach in America would be more of an asset than Bobo. And Murray has talent but he still needs a lot of coaching. We will never win the SEC with Bobo. His play calling has to drive Grantham nuts.

z-dawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

The blair walsh thing is what it is because he’s done.

Crowell is insignificant until he man’s up.

Bobo needs to take the same position at UF

Murray?

Mcgarity needs to backup the money truck for Grantham

Proud-Dawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

Let’s lower the expectations. The Dawgs are a 2nd tier program with the current coaching staff. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a fact. We were outcoached in the 2nd half and Murray was the best player for Michigan State in the 3rd quarter. I’m ready for the LeMay experiment, but CMR is loyal to a fault. I’m not going to pile on Walsh, what a terrible way to end a career. Bobo is simply, Bobo. I’ll let the Tech and Bama fans tell us about Bobo. Anyways, still love my Dawgs.

—>Let’s stop bashing our players on twitter<—–

Ford Truck Buyer

January 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

Too many missed opportunities. Never should have gotten to overtime. Crowell hurt…..again.

Dewnsav

January 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

We deserved to lose. Period

lizarddo

January 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

richt has got to go. He sucks and so does his staff. Embarrassing loss today. Damn uga f’ball sucks

crusher dawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

Every time that you play you have to want it too win it. It’s obvious today that we didn’t want it. Congratulations on a better year, but it’s obvious that some changes need to be made on offense. May 2012 be a great year for UGA football………….

Screwball Willie

January 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

UGA’s collapsed was foretold in the 1st quarter when the TV cameras showed the UGA fan in the stands with a “GO DWAGS” sign. It was all downhill from that misspelling…

Football Guy

January 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

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David C

January 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

Once again Georgia Un-Achieves.. Mich St lost to Bama last year 49-7. Georgia is not back. This just confirmed it… Vanderbilt and Georgia the only SEC Teams to loses this bowl season..

Amspec

January 2nd, 2012
7:23 pm

Blame Bobo all you want but I doubt it was his gutless decision to kick a 43rd field goal on 3rd down in OT!

mom3

January 2nd, 2012
7:23 pm

Bye Bye BoBo. I hope.

ARdawg

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

There is no indications even with the favorable schedule next year that we won’t have another repeat performance of this year. The definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Bobo and/or Richt must go

D

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

as long as mark is at UGA better get use to it. 10 wins blah blah blah against teams that are 6-6 and records of that nature. mark is a good man but coach?…….uhm……NO!! let’s hear the excuses now like always

meathead

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

Well at least we don’t have to see Walsh again in a UGA uniform. Now if Richt would just let Bobo go go.

Gainesville DAWG

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

I really think that McGarity will place a decision to be made on Coach Richt. Either let Bobo go or else??? There are too many wealthy powerful alumni who will pressure this to happen. If not, then I don’t know?????
I DO support the Dawgs!!!!

JDawg1785

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

Seemed to me that the Dawgs did everything they could to give this one away, just like the USCe game. I’m staying optimistic, but there are some serious issues to fix if Georgia’s going to make a run in 2012. So sorry for the seniors (especially Boykin!) for going out this way.

Gman

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

Shutdown defense in the first halves of both the SECCG and the OB. The second half against LSU we surrender 35 points. In the OB’s second half we surrender 33 points. WOW! guess that is a pattern not an abberation (SC game gift-wrapped as well).

Not saying it’s all on the defense as Murray’s pick 6s in big games are givens. Can’t run the ball, can’t hit a field goal-pitiful.

I didn’t think it was possible to score 3 points in 3 OTs.

Just bad.

Randall

January 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

Did I miss it or am I right, Orson Charles did not have a ball thrown to him? The best one half team in the country. When the game moves to a half and you know it will the Dawgs will be the best in America. Already have it sewn up. One half wonders, what the h3ll I enjoyed the year at least it’s over. Remember we still have the Braves.

CChance

January 2nd, 2012
7:25 pm

I only hope that next year Coach Richt goes with the best player for their respective position and not for the player who’s been there the longest, or who know the offense the best (Aaron Murray). After two interceptions and all the kicks that Walsh has missed this season, why is there such a sense of loyalty; let’s just go with who can win the game.

Moobs Johnson

January 2nd, 2012
7:25 pm

Here I thought I did a bad job coaching in a bowl. Thanks Mark for taking the heat off of me!

DodgerDAWG

January 2nd, 2012
7:25 pm

Bill, would you do us all a favor and let Bobo know that Houston Baptist University, Midland University and Bethel College are 3 of possibly many schools where he might find a better fit.